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Silver Conversationalist

How many of you are embracing minimalism?

Read today that the average American household has 300,000 items!  Don't have anywhere near that amount, but recently married and moved,  and my husband and I discovered we had more than we needed. There is a real freedom getting rid of what you don't use.

 

Would love to hear other minimalists stories.

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Contributor

Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder.   Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.    

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Regular Contributor

Stop most snail mail advertisements by contacting http://www.directmailpreferences.com/.  There may be a small fee, but the time you save will be worth it.

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Periodic Contributor

I process my mail every day, keep a donation box available at all times, hold a garage sale each year.  And in September 2020,  I went through my clothes closet - donating anything that didn't fit (size wise or lifestyle wise), then I turned all the hangers in the opposite direction that I normally hang them. When I wear an item, i hang the hanger in the opposite direction.  In September 2021, any hanger that is not reversed means I didn't wear that item of clothing for 1 year - into the donation box it goes!

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Newbie

Goodwill is a nonprofit,  and uses the profit from clothing and goods sales to fund its health,  education and workforce programs. The CEO of salvation army actually makes a large salary in line with the size of the org, which is fine because these are complicated businesses.  SA has been investigated for discriminatory practice against non- Christians and had a number of staff turnovers 3 years ago due to their internal practices. 

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Periodic Contributor

Minimalism is so fun, it's actually fun to reduce, recycle and repurpose. I started working with women over 50 on how to purge and minimize their wardrobe contents. Simply identifying their style better, working within their own closet to learn how to use what they own and use it better and purge out all the extraneous. It's been a really fun and wonderful way to connect with women all across my region and now with ZOOM beyond to every point in the USA. A5D844C5-AD99-4789-B92F-5EADF98F2916.jpeg

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Community Manager
Community Manager

My partner and I regularly assess what we have, and we have a "one in, one out" rule. Clutter definitely affects my mental health negatively. I was flabbergasted by the fact you shared! 300,000 items is sooooo much!

 

Check out AARP Smart Guide: 27 Simple Strategies to Clear Clutter and Downsizing Tips for additional tricks and ideas!

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Silver Conversationalist

Rachel, Thank you for the excellent article on decluttering.  It will keep me motivated and accountable.  Christine

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Super Contributor

I've made so many donations to American Vietnam Veterans, their truck can probably find its way to my house by itself.

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Silver Conversationalist

Martin, I know what you mean.  When I was getting ready to sell my house, I think I had about 10 ( that's probably conservative ) runs to Goodwill to drop off donations.  I kept finding more things.  The more I donated, the more I wanted to donate. It's a great feeling! Christine

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Periodic Contributor

 it doesn't seem to work that way for me. The more I donate the more room I have to add to my other collections. I always have someone else take my things to Goodwill because I'm afraid I may buy back some of the things I took the last time.

Silver Conversationalist

@KSAA676329  I actually did that with a book!  I was thinking, gee this story sounds kind of familiar.  Oh, yeah I read it two years ago and donated it to Goodwill.  Christine

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Super Contributor

I seem to be and didn't even realize it, I call it downsizing, and getting rid of things that aren't bringing me joy. Every day I pick an area in my apartment that just seems so cluttered and stressful and go through it.

Shari
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Bronze Conversationalist

When you are done at your apartment, you can come to my place and organize my garage for me!  Hahaha!

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Super Contributor

I would gladly do this for you if you lived closer, I actually love decluttering and organizing. 

Shari
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Bronze Conversationalist

You haven't seen my garage, Shari!   Lol!

I have tubs and tubs of papers and things that I grew too tired of going through when I moved into my new house 5 years ago.  It's not like I have things all over the floor, but I need to go through the tubs and throw things out or shred them.  I have the best of intentions, but when I see all of them it just feels like too daunting of a task.

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Periodic Contributor

That's why you only tackle one thing at a time, one box at a time.  Then quit for the day and do another one tomorrow !

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Silver Conversationalist

@Trishi Exactly!  Keep the ideas and topics flowing.  Christine

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Bronze Conversationalist

That's a great idea....if you have the time to do that.

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Contributor

Here's an idea that helps me when paper needs to be GONE...place the papers in the sink, thoroughly soak them till they nearly dissolve, squeeze out the excess water. Now no one can read them and you didn't inhale paper dust. Doing large batches at a time, you're done in no time rather than spending hours in front of a shredder.   Now you can toss them or turn them under in the garden and the worms will love you for giving them bedding to rest in.    

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What a fantastic idea! I can not believe I have never read about it before! 

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Silver Conversationalist

Patricia, That is brilliant!  I'm going to put that to use right away! Christine

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May I suggest, just take one tub from the garage (if you are able to lift it) and focus on just that one tub. I understand being overwhelmed by them, my late husband was a paper saver and his model ships were another thing (which drove me nuts) so going through all of the paper was a bit overwhelming at first. 

Shari
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Bronze Conversationalist

I thought I would take one tub a week during the winter and go through it.

How many have I gone through so far this winter?  NONE!  Hahahahaha!

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Contributor

If doing a whole tub is daunting, assign yourself to as little as 15 minutes a day. It adds up; it really does!

 

Silver Conversationalist

@j555132w , great advice.  It's like having a goal to floss more consistently, floss one tooth. Next day two.  Eventually, you say, "hey, while I've got the floss between my fingers, might as well do the whole mouth!"  Break it down to small manageable bites. Christine

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Silver Conversationalist

Rosemary, It can be challenging to get started.  A site that has inspired me, is "The Minimal Mom."  She has great tips and tricks and is very relatable.

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Newbie

Also "The Minimalists" YouTube  and podcasts are inspiring. Great to listen to while exercising & walking!

Silver Conversationalist

@lsarachild Yes, They were kind of the ones that put the whole minimalist movement on the map.  Christine

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Newbie

Hi Christine,

I recently retired and I have started organizing and getting rid of unwanted stuff.  It makes it easier for both me and my family.  I think it also teaches them to be more organized without knowing it. Lucky me!!!

Thanks,

Pat

 

Silver Conversationalist

@PattyM140343  I think it's a great gift to our families to discard things you aren't using.  Going through a parent's things after they pass can be a long, painful overwhelming process. Christine

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Bronze Conversationalist

@ Patty

Yes!  It makes it easier for whomever is left behind to manage your estate, also.

My Mom (God bless her!) refused to go through stuff in her house before she died saying "you girls can go through it when I'm gone."  Unfortunately, "you girls" ended up being just ME, and I found she had saved bank info from 40 years prior.  Plus the fact that she had things from other family members estates that she didn't know what to do with.

It became an endless nightmare going through everything.  So PLEASE PEOPLE, think of your family members who will end up going through your possessions after you die, and start discarding things NOW.

Silver Conversationalist

@RosemaryF433825 , First, I'm sorry for the loss of your mom.  You are a great example through your difficult experience of what we need to be doing, so our kids don't have to go through what you did.  Honestly, the next generation is not going to want the figures, precious moments, the good china, fine linens, basically tchotchkes and entertaining items from decades ago.  They like a more casual environment.  Maybe they are doing the minimal thing!  Christine

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Bronze Conversationalist

@Rhymesometimes  Thanks a lot for your sympathy, Christine.  My Mom was one heck of a gal... oh, the stories I could tell!   LOL. Even though it was 14 years ago that she passed away, she is still missed every day!

 

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